Bicycling is a common activity in Las Vegas. Some people choose cycling to keep fit while others prefer it as a means of transport. While bicycling has several benefits, we cannot ignore the risks of cycling on public roads. Nevada laws give cyclists the same responsibilities and rights as motorists while on the road. All road users owe a duty of care to other users to prevent accidents and stay safe. Sadly, that does not always happen. Bicycle accidents are common, and their causes vary from one accident to the other.
Understanding the cause of an accident in which you have sustained injuries helps determine the responsible party and establish how to recover compensation for your injuries. You could speak to us at the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm if you or your loved one suffered injuries in a bicycle accident in Las Vegas.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents in Nevada are not uncommon. They result from many factors, most of which relate to motorists. The most apparent causes are unsafe changing of lanes, driving too close to a bicycle lane, turning without watching out for bicyclists, distracted driving, and giving less importance to bicyclists.
Like drivers, bicyclists have a legal right to use public roads. However, they face a greater risk of injuries and other damages when involved in an accident. Whether you prefer cycling to commute, exercise, or as a hobby, the truth is that you face more significant risks whenever you are on the road. Even if cyclists have the same privileges and rights as other road users in Nevada, most drivers treat them as second citizens. Some drivers do not make it any easier for cyclists while using the same road. For instance, some drivers leave no room for cyclists. Also, drivers who fail to pay attention on the road put cyclists in dangerous situations.
But the law is clear on what you should do if involved in a car accident in which another party was responsible. If you or your loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, it is necessary to understand how Nevada personal injury law applies to your situation and what you must do to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Bicycle accidents are usually more devastating than most road accidents. Cyclists do not enjoy the same protection as drivers while on the road. When an accident occurs, cyclists are, in most cases, thrown off their bikes onto a hard road or other objects along the road. That leads to catastrophic injuries, which take longer and cost more money to treat. To seek compensation, you must identify the cause of the accident and the responsible party.
Here are some of the common causes of bicycle accidents in Nevada:
Distractions are a common cause of all kinds of road accidents, including car accidents involving bicycles. Drivers must pay attention to the road at all times. If that does not happen, they are more likely to engage in an accident. A distracted driver will not see a cyclist in time to avoid hitting them. Some common distractions that hinder motorists' concentration while on the road include texting or talking on the phone, chatting on social media, playing with the stereo, or external distractions like passersby or objects along the road.
Failure to Leave Enough Buffer
Some drivers do not treat cyclists with the respect cyclists deserve while on the road. A driver can find it easy to maintain a safe space between them and the driver in front but will not do the same to bicyclists. Following a cyclist too closely is dangerous and could result in a severe accident in which the cyclist could sustain catastrophic injuries. Other motorists drive through bicycle paths without worrying about causing an accident. In the presence of a bicycle path, motorists must avoid using it or going close to it. Without a bicycle path, motorists must watch for cyclists using the same road.
Driving at Dangerous Speeds
Speeding makes it impossible for a driver to stop in time to avoid an accident. It is also a leading cause of vehicle accidents. Speeding drivers have little time to make the right decisions when they encounter a hazard. A speeding driver can quickly veer off the road, crashing on other motorists and road users, including bicyclists. Speeding vehicles cause devastating accidents, resulting in significant injuries for the affected. Speeding is even more dangerous in a residential neighborhood, where there are likely to be more cyclists.
Some drivers drive recklessly on the road without considering other road users. For instance, weaving through traffic can result in a severe accident in which many people are injured. If you drive dangerously on the road shared by cyclists, you can quickly hit a bicycle and severely injure a cyclist. Reckless driving occurs when a motorist is speeding, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or disregards other road users' safety. A reckless driver can also veer off traffic onto a designated bicycle track, causing a devastating accident.
Unsafe Change of Lanes
Other than weaving through traffic, some drivers do not indicate when changing lanes. They do not wait to ensure the road is clear for exchanging from one lane to another. Unsafe lane change is a dangerous habit that has resulted in some of the most devastating accidents in Nevada. If a bicyclist is speeding down the highway and a driver suddenly changes lanes, the bicycle can crash into the vehicle, causing the cyclist to sustain severe injuries.
Drivers should always look out for cyclists and pedestrians while on the road. However, some drivers turn without checking to ensure that the road is clear of users other than motorists. Some drivers turn immediately after confirming that the road is clear of other vehicles. But they ignore cyclists. Other drivers do not indicate when turning, making it hard for cyclists to understand where the car is heading to give way. Some of these dangerous acts cause the most severe bicycle accidents on our roads.
Running the Stop Sign
When drivers ignore traffic signs because they are in a hurry, distracted, or operating under the influence, they, more likely than not, cause accidents. The stop sign allows other road users to move, thus controlling traffic and ensuring that every user is safe. Running a stop sign means failing to give way when required. If bicyclists have the right of way and a driver fails to give way, there is likely to be an accident in which one or more cyclists will sustain severe injuries.
A driver whose concentration and ability to safely operate a vehicle is impaired will likely cause an accident. Most car accidents in Nevada occur due to impaired driving. Some drivers use vehicles while sick, on medication, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law does not allow anyone to operate a car when impaired. For instance, if you are sick or from the hospital and are on medication that makes you feel drowsy, you should not drive. If you have been drinking, you must not drive, no matter how little alcohol you have consumed. An impaired driver cannot make a sound judgment while on the road.
Fatigue also affects a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely. It impacts a driver's judgment while on the road, making it hard for the driver to make rational decisions that keep them and other road users safe. Driver fatigue occurs when a driver has been on the road for more hours than they should. Drivers need to take a good rest before starting a journey. Nevada law is stringent on the number of hours commercial drivers must drive before taking a break. Driving for long hours without a break increases the risk for all road users, including cyclists.
Unsafe Road Conditions
In some cases, the cause of an accident has nothing to do with a driver's negligence. There are instances where accidents occur due to some conditions on the road which are beyond the control of drivers or cyclists. For example, large potholes or debris on the road and projecting objects can cause cyclists to lose control of their bikes, resulting in an accident. Under unsafe road conditions, it is essential to engage a skilled car accident attorney in determining liability. That will make it easier for you to seek compensation for your injuries.
Possible Liable Parties in Bicycle Accidents
So many bicycles are involved in accidents in Nevada every year, but only a fraction of those accidents are reported. Nevada law does not consider bicycles as vehicles. That affects how liability is determined in the event of a bicycle accident. But, cyclists are mandated to abide by all traffic rules, just like drivers. A common law involving bicyclists in Nevada is the move-over law, which requires motorists to move over to another lane if a cyclist is using the right lane. If a motorist passes a bicyclist in a single lane, they must provide a safe distance of about three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle.
Sadly, these laws are not always followed. Some drivers disregard the presence of cyclists on the road, which is a leading cause of bicycle accidents in the state.
Liability in bicycle accidents is mainly determined based on the cause. Most bicycle accidents result from negligence by motorists. However, that does not make drivers the only liable parties in all bicycle accidents. Here are the possible responsible parties you can pursue if you or your loved one sustains injuries in a bicycle accident:
The driver involved in the accident is the first possible liable party when a bicycle accident occurs. It could be that the driver hit the bicycle, or the bike crashed into a vehicle, resulting in an accident in which the cyclist sustained injuries.
Motorists are responsible for bicycle accidents if they are negligent in causing the accident. A driver is considered negligent in causing an accident if they were:
- Driving recklessly on the road
- Failed to give the cyclist way
- Operating while drunk or drugged
- Driving distractedly
- Driving while fatigued
Drivers must be alert while on the road. They must be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians and do everything possible to avoid accidents. If the driver is not careful enough in preventing the accident, they will be responsible for the resulting damages.
Sometimes, a cyclist could be partly responsible for the accident in which they sustained injuries. For instance, if the cyclist was speeding, did not observe traffic rules, or was riding dangerously on the road, they too could take the blame for the accident. In that case, the judge will consider their percentage of liability in the accident and only award part of the damages incurred.
If a bicycle is faulty or has a mechanical issue from the manufacturing point, its manufacturer will be responsible for the resulting damages if the bike was involved in an accident. You will need the help of an accident reconstruction expert to establish the actual cause of the accident. If the bike is faulty, the blame will fall on its manufacturer. But if the bike only needed a repair that you (the cyclist) ignored, you could be partly to blame for the accident.
Government Agency Responsible for Road Maintenance
Some bicycle accidents occur due to conditions on the road. For instance, a large pothole on the road could cause a severe bicycle accident. Vehicles can safely move on uneven road surfaces, but cyclists will have difficulty balancing their bikes. If an accident occurs due to a dangerous road condition, the government agency responsible for road maintenance will be accountable for the resulting damages.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Injuries are inevitable when a bicycle accident happens. Cyclists do not enjoy the same protection as vehicle occupants. Thus, they are likely to sustain severe physical injuries after an accident, however minor. In most bicycle accidents, cyclists are thrown off their bikes and onto a hard or dangerous surface, leaving them with catastrophic injuries. That is why compensation for bicycle accident victims is usually high. Some cyclists lose their lives on the spot, while others sustain life-threatening and life-altering injuries.
Here are some common injuries in most bicycle accidents in Nevada:
A dangerous fall on the road or a hard object by the road will likely result in internal bleeding. That is what happens when a bicycle accident occurs. Cyclists are, in most cases, thrown off their bikes into the surrounding environment after an accident. Internal bleeding is a severe injury that could go unnoticed until a person loses too much blood and is on the verge of losing their life. Bicycle accident victims are encouraged to seek medical attention right after the accident. It ensures that all their injuries are diagnosed and treated on time.
A fracture occurs when you hit your bone with enough force to damage and break it. Most bicycle accident victims sustain fractures in various parts of their bodies, depending on the angle at which they fell from their bikes after an accident. Some accidents leave victims with fractured legs and hands or result in bone fractures in other parts of their bodies. Fractured bones require adequate and immediate medical attention to heal. Some fractures could render part of your body completely dysfunctional. Others can take a long time and intense treatment to completely heal.
Concussions and Head Injuries
You could sustain a concussion or another devastating head or brain injury if you hit your head on a hard surface after a bicycle accident. The human head is susceptible to severe injuries after an accident. Some cyclists protect their heads. If you are involved in a bicycle accident and are not adequately protected from damages, you could sustain a life-altering head injury. Head injuries take time and cost more money to treat. Some heal entirely, while others leave you incapacitated. You deserve adequate compensation from the responsible party to pay for your treatment and prepare for any changes after the accident.
An injury to the spine is devastating, as it can completely change your life. Some spine injuries result in paralysis, whereby part of your entire body becomes dysfunctional. Partial paralysis only affects the lower part of your body. When it occurs, you cannot move or feel your feet. Complete paralysis affects your entire body. Some spinal injuries are treatable but cost more money and take a long time to heal. Other injuries do not completely heal, and you must learn new skills to adjust to a new way of life.
Loss of Life
Sadly, most bicycle accidents result in death. Some cyclists do not survive a severe accident. Some lose their lives on the accident scene, while others die while undergoing treatment. The family of a person who lost his/her life in a bicycle accident has the legal right to claim compensation from the responsible party. With the help of a skilled car accident attorney, you can prepare a solid case against the liable party to receive adequate compensation for the deceased's funeral and burial and to support their dependents.
What To Do After a Nevada Bicycle Accident
A bicycle accident will leave you seriously injured, scared, confused, and full of emotions. It is a challenge to make the right decision while in that condition. However, accident victims are always advised to remain calm and strategize on the best course of action to take. Remember that what you do or fail to do after an accident could impact your lawsuit against the liable party. Here is what you must do after an accident if you wish to pursue the compensation you deserve:
Remain Calm and Alert
When you are injured, speaking your mind to the person who caused your pain is tempting. You will want to confront the person you think is responsible for your injuries. Confrontations do not always end well. If you have called the police at the scene, or an officer is already there, allow them to conduct the investigations. It would be best if you remained calm and alert to avoid missing out on anything that could help your case.
Call Your Lawyer
It is crucial to have an attorney from the start of the process. The best time to call a lawyer is right after the accident. Your lawyer will handle the matter smoothly and even better, mostly if you are injured and need medical attention. Your lawyer will handle the police, gather evidence, and collect any information you might need from the responsible party.
If you do not have an attorney yet, it is necessary to start gathering evidence immediately after the accident. You will likely lose more evidence as time goes by. If you are seriously injured and cannot do much, have someone take pictures and videos of the accident scene. The person can also take statements from a few witnesses who could be willing to testify against the responsible party if the case goes to court.
Seek Medical Attention
Most importantly, seek medical attention right after the accident. A bicycle accident will likely leave you seriously injured. You must find medical help before your injuries worsen. Also, seeking medical attention right after the accident will help your case. It shows that you are indeed injured and deserve compensation from the responsible party.
Find a Competent Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Are you or your loved one injured in a Las Vegas bicycle accident and need help seeking compensation from the responsible party?
A skilled car accident attorney could help you understand the cause of your accident, the responsible party, and how you can benefit from Nevada personal injury laws. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we will also help you develop a solid case against the responsible party so that you can receive total compensation for your damages. Call us at 702-576-0010, and let us make the legal process smooth for you.